Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Respect for Elders Day Sept 20

SJG 2010 - Respect for the Elders Day;
photo by Monzie
What started out as an iffy morning weather-wise in the garden on Respect for Elders Day (keiro-no-hi) ended shortly before noon in sun bursts that forecast a fine afternoon.  On cue, the turtles began scaling the rock on Turtle Island's south side to encouraging words from small bands of visitors circling the lake.

I caught up with an 11-member group from the International District Community Center who clustered on the moon-viewing platform, excitedly pointing to the fish as ducks and koi competed for food and  laughing as a turtle sedately paddled by to join the feeding frenzy  The resident heron was elsewhere...

The group moved on to the tableland to pause at a newly planted Mt Fuji cherry tree. This was site  of a ceremony last week attended by the Japanese ambassador to celebrate the garden's 50th anniversary.  At the tree's foot stands a small, white, irregularly-shaped stone bearing a plaque, which reads:

SJG 2010 - New Mt. Fuji Cherry; photo by Monzie
"Prunus Shirotae (Mt Fuji cherry)
This tree is a propagation of the one planted by Japanese Crown Prince Akihito in 1960
Best wishes for another 50 years of friendship
Between the US and Japan
September 16, 2010
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary.
Japanese Ambassador and Mrs. Ichiro Fujisaki
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn
Consulate-General of Japan, Seattle
Japanese Business Association of Seattle"

My own tour group of 12 curious seniors wanted to see all - no skirting the hills - and game for picking their way across stones at the base of the falls  When told the age of the black pine overlooking the north end of the lake (plus or minus 100 years), a wave of appreciation swept through.  "At last, something older than I am," came from the rear.

SJG 2010 - Origami table; photo by Monzie
Back at the gatehouse, guides Sue Clark, Jeanne Peterson and Lynnda Laurie presided over the origami table set up under cover outside the Tateuchi Room where they led absorbed visitors through paper folding steps.  I admired the completed birds, boxes, balls and my favorite, a jumping frog with an Olympic-record leap. 

Close by, departing visitors examined the exhibit of photographs of the Katsura palace taken in 1960 by Ishimoto Yasuhiro.  As I left the gate, a growing group of respected elders sat under a red tent in the courtyard, now protected from the sun rather than rain, waiting patiently for the next tour.

SJG 2010 - Strolling through; photo by Monzie
Sources tell me that Respect for Elders Day, which celebrates a Confucian value, is a relatively new national holiday in Japan, observed on the third Monday in September  Its origin was in a village in 1947. (It takes a village.)  Within three years, the observance spread throughout the prefecture (province) and achieved nation-wide status in 1966.  Among the day's customs:  distribution of free lunches and sweets to those over age 60.


  1. Terrific job, Monzie!!! I just stopped by at the parking lot of the Forks Chamber of Commerce to borrow their WI-Fi for a moment, and the first thing I see is your post above! Congratulations, I'm taking your training wheels now, as you obviously don't need them anymore:). Great read, too, as if i was there myself, while in fact I'm mostly on rocky beaches of La Push. Did you take any pics?

  2. Yes, awaiting your fine technical know-how!

  3. I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!!
    I definitely enjoyed reading every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.